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Thursday, February 16, 2017

PR Motivation

I set a new PR last weekend at the 500 Festival Miler Series 3 Miler - 38 seconds faster than last year!  It's a new course and no longer includes the loop with the hill on White River Parkway by the Zoo, but that can't account for all of it.  I'm definitely getting faster.  My watch shows I actually ran 3.21 miles at a 10:14 pace - I had to do a lot of weaving around walkers - but my official time was 3 miles in 32:45 at a10:45 pace.  I ran it in 33:23 last year, so that's an improvement of more than 12 seconds per mile.

I wasn't even planning to try for a PR.  I've been running a lot of miles lately to keep my 20 mile/week average, and the Friday night before the race I did a really hard incline/speed workout on the treadmill (thanks Brandi!), so I expected my legs to be tired, but I actually felt great.

I run a different strategy in a 3 miler or 5K than I do in a longer race.  I usually just go ahead and go as fast as I feel like running from the very beginning.  Not sprinting, but not holding back either.  I think in such a short race that if I try to hold back and pace myself, I will hold back too much and not have time to make it up, so I would rather go at the start, even if I slow down some at the end.  Most times I don't ever slow down, because once that VOICE starts trying to tell me I have to or I'll never make it, I'm usually already past halfway and I know it's lying.

Last weekend, though, I got a bit of an extra motivational push.  Just after halfway, I saw a guy two blocks ahead of me wearing a Duke shirt.  And this was only 2 days after Duke beat UNC in a very close game.  Sorry Dookie, your team might have beat mine, but you weren't going to beat me.  I kicked up my pace a little and passed the Duke fan, resisting the urge to trash talk in case he felt like pulling a Grayson Allen on me, and kept pushing all the way to the finish.  Dude never had a chance to catch back up.  I did look for him after the race to tell him how he motivated me, but I never saw him.
Ringing the PR Bell!

It's not just that race or dudes in Dook shirts.  I actually am running faster lately.  I didn't PR Sunday's Hook-Up 5K, but I came as close as I ever have when I wasn't being paced.  And tonight I ran my personal best at our Thursday Night Run Club: 10:45 pace including stoplights.  I don't know who swapped legs with me, but you can't have them back!  I'm sure I have a bad run coming up - they can't all be good - but lately I've felt really strong and I'm enjoying every run.

Side note on my outfit in the picture at the beginning: that is not what I wore in Saturday's race, although now I wish I had.  It's actually from last year's Race For Roofs, which was on the same day UNC played IU in the Sweet 16 (Hoo-Hoo-Hoosiers went down 101-86, in case you don't remember).  The Race for Roofs has been moved from March to July this year, but I'm sure the outfit will make an appearance again sometime during March Madness.

Coming Up: The Polar Bear is this weekend!  I'm running The Bear (5K + 5 Mile), and the weather looks to be just perfect, so it should be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Wrap-Up

We are turning the calendar page over on the first month of 2017: Year of Adventure.  I didn't do much racing this month, but I've still been making progress on my goals.  I ran 71.9 miles - a little lower than my goal to average 20 miles per week but not bad.  I read 4 books (plus a couple others still in progress), so I'm on track for 53 books this year, and I'm on track to read the Bible through this year too.  I just today started The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher's behind-the-scenes stories from the making of Star Wars.  I'm listening to the audio version, narrated by Carrie Fisher, and it's just fascinating.

Bop to the Top

I already told you about my New Year's Day races in my last blog post.  The only other event I did this month was the Bop to the Top on the 21st.  For my readers outside central Indiana, this is an annual timed stair climb in the OneAmerica tower.  36 floors.  780 steps.  I had never done it before, but it's pretty easy to talk me into trying something new.

View from the top
I was super-nervous and had no idea what to expect.  One kind of cool thing about this event: you don't get your t-shirt at packet pick-up; you get it at the top after you climb.  If you don't finish, you don't get a shirt.

It was actually not as hard as I expected.  I thought my legs/glutes would hurt, but it turned out my breathing was the hardest.  My legs were ok, but I was breathing as hard as if I was sprinting.  Maybe that was just due to nerves; I'm not sure.  In hindsight, I probably could have gone a little faster at the beginning, but I really didn't know how to pace myself.  I finished in 9:52 for 11th in my age group, not bad for a first timer.  I would definitely do this again, and perhaps next year I will try the Triple Step option.

Take My House, Please

The biggest thing this month has been starting the process of getting my house on the market.  I'm still sorting through things and donating/gifting/trashing as appropriate, and boxing up what I'm keeping so I can put it in storage.  It's so incredibly hard.  I'm ready, but it's still emotionally wrenching.  I've gone through and donated a lot of Kevin's things already over the past 21 months, and each time I can let a few more things go, but it honestly never gets easier.  It still feels right, though.  At this point I know which 5 or 6 of his sweatshirts I wear all the time.  I don't need to keep 30.

I'm also getting estimates on the repairs and updates I need to make to get the house ready for a new family.  That's hard in another way.  One of the last conversations Kevin and I had just a few days before he died was about the updates and renovations we wanted to make after the kids all moved out and we had the house to ourselves.  We were not planning to downsize - we discussed it but decided we wanted to stay here.  It's hard now to be doing these things without him.  I'm quite sure he would not like my decision to go with a laminate plank flooring downstairs instead of carpet.  I wish he was here to argue with me about it.

 It's all so mentally and emotionally exhausting.  I have been sleeping a lot more than normal this month.  I really just want to go to sleep and let someone else take care of it all.  Wake me up when it's time to unpack and set up my new apartment or rental house.  If it wasn't for the support of all my amazing friends and family, I wouldn't have gotten nearly as much done as I have so far.  I know I'm going to continue to need you over the next few months, too.  Even knowing this is right for me now and I'm ready, it's still going to be incredibly hard to move out of the home we built together and got married in.

Coming Up

February is going to a busy month! I've got to finish with the house.  I've given the kids and myself a March 1st deadline to have: 1) everything out of the house that no one wants to keep; and 2) everything boxed up and stored if we are keeping it but don't need it for the next month or so.  That doesn't really leave very many weekends, so most nights I spend a couple of hours on it too.

Last year's 3 Miler
February is going to be busy on the racing front, too, starting this Sunday with the Groundhog 7.  I'm volunteering as a course marshall.  If you're running it let me know so I can cheer you on!  Next weekend I have 2 races: the 500 Festival Miler Series 3 Miler
on Saturday (I really enjoyed this series last year & I'm looking forward to running it again); and the Hook Up 5K on Sunday (#justlooking).  Then on the 18th I'm running the Indy Polar Bear 5K + 5M.  I've never done this event but it looks like a lot of fun.

After that, I leave for Seattle to take the next class I need for my Certified Housing Asset Manager certification.  I've never been to Seattle, so if you have any tips on what to see/where to eat/where to run, please leave me a comment?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Long Time No Blog

Happy 2017! I hope everyone had peaceful and love-filled holidays.  I didn't have much to say after Vegas, so I took a few weeks off blogging while I concentrated on taking care of myself and getting through the holidays.  You wouldn't have wanted to read anything I wrote those weeks anyway.  It was rough; harder than the first year without Kevin.  It seemed more real this time, and he seems so far away now.  Although as Tiffane pointed out to me, I know that because of our faith in Jesus, I'm actually closer now to seeing Kevin again than I was a year ago.

But, 2017 is here and as always my calendar is filling up with things I'm looking forward to.  The Fast Bottom Girls have dubbed 2017 the Year of Adventure, and you'll see me using that hashtag often on Instagram & Twitter.  Soon it will be time to start spring training, but of course I never stopped running, so I'm ready to start working hard again.

Holiday Recap

I did run a few shorter races after Vegas: the Bolt for the Heart 5K on Thanksgiving, followed by the Burn It Off Double 5K & 10K on Black Friday and the Turkey Legs Trifecta 4K, 5K & 6K that Saturday.  A couple weeks later I went home to see my niece Starr earn her Masters in Nursing, and I ran the Hanukkah 8K with Laura & Mark while I was there.  Since Laura is taking an even longer break in blogging than I did, I will go ahead & share here that both she and Mark won their age groups in that race.

Then I had a weekend full of parties, getting together with the ladies supper club, the BGR Winter Takeover where we made awesome medal hangers, and the FBG Christmas party where we pulled out planners and journals to work on our 2017 goals.

Finally one last race to finish the year: the Rudolph Run 5K on Christmas Eve.  I hesitated to sign up for this race until the very last minute, because Christmas Eve is also Kevin's and my anniversary.  I wasn't sure if running a race was the best way to observe it, but I couldn't come up with anything especially meaningful, so I decided to go ahead.  If nothing else, I knew it would make me get up and get out of bed for a little while, and running always helps me feel better.

Christmas day was nice - I went to church in the morning, then out for Chinese food for lunch with Josh.  Next we met Kimmy & Colin at the theater to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  Wow - definitely go see this if you haven't already!  Then all of us went back to the house where we were joined by Nick & Micah, and it was delightful to have everyone all together for a little while.

The week between Christmas and New Year's I spent trying to sort through things and start getting the house ready to sell, with breaks for runs and/or losing myself in a good book whenever I needed.  At this point, I know what I want to keep, but I have piles everywhere: things for Goodwill, electronics that I need to figure out how to dispose of, and all the things I need the kids to go through so they can take what they want.  That last pile is the biggest, and I know it's going to be hard for them.

I celebrated New Year's Day with 2 races, of course!  The Cheers to New Year's 5K with the FBG, and the First Day Trail Run at Monroe Lake with Josh.  Other than the races I did over the holidays, I ran all my runs without my watch.  I decided I wasn't going to track miles, look at my pace, or do anything other than just run for fun.  I didn't listen to music, either.  I chatted with friends or just ran and paid attention to how it felt.  It was kind of nice.

2017: Year of Adventure

Our FBG destination race this year is the Southernmost Half Marathon and Running Festival in Key West in October.  I've never been to Key West, so I'm super-excited about this trip.  I'm running the half on Saturday and the 5K on Sunday for the SoMo Challenge.  And we are working on mermaid outfits for the race, and you know those will be super-cute!

I will again be a Run(317) Ambassador, promoting, running and partying at my favorite local race series.  Other repeats: I'm pacing the Indy Runners Spring Training program which starts in a couple of weeks, and pacing the Indy Women's Half in September, and doing the 100 Miles of Racing contest.

I haven't actually decided on a Spring half.  I kind of need to be an adult and see how things go with the house before I start spending money and committing to races and travel plans.  I am running the Great Chocolate Race 10 Miler in March with the FBG, and the Run Forrest Run 10K in April up in South Bend (another place I've never been).

Overall for the year I've committed to run at least 1000 miles.  The challenge for me will not be in running all that - I think I probably actually did that last year.  The challenge will be in logging all my miles to keep track.  I deal with numbers all day long, so I don't really like to keep a training log or running totals or anything longer than a couple of months.

A fun event that has nothing to do with running: I will be Returning to Roswell (NM) in June for the New Beetle Car Show.  Josh, Starr and I went in 2003 and had a great time.  I'm really excited to be going again.  A couple of other non-running goals: reading 53 books this year (1 more than last year), and reading the Bible through again.

While that's all the definite plans I have, there are some other ideas floating around in my head that I hope to make happen this year too.

Laura's Updates

Laura last blogged on February 8, 2016, so I'm going to go brag on her accomplishments a little bit.  Hopefully she'll post soon and tell us more about all this.  She has been training for a 100 miler for a long time, and she made her first attempt at the Devil Dog Ultra in Virginia on December 17.  While she was not able to finish that day, she ran an impressive 73 miles in very tough conditions: rain and sleet, frozen creeks, several falls.  Most people would've taken a few weeks off to recover before starting over to train again, but Laura made another attempt at the Pistol Ultra in Tennessee over the New Year's weekend.  And not only did she finish, but she finished on the podium!  100 miles in 24 hours 59 minutes, 10th female overall and 2nd in her age group.  That is some serious strength!

Laura has been selected to be an ambassador for Feed Your Crazy running gear, and she is going to be on the newly formed FootRx trail ultra team, along with Mark and Alice.  Let's hope one of her team duties is to blog and tell us all about their adventures.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

What Happened in Vegas?

How was the race?

Start Line pic by Theresa Pritchard
Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon.  It was a very tough race, but ultimately I feel pretty good about how it went overall.  It started off great.  Christina & I were in corral 12, but we worked our way up to actually start with corral 7 to give ourselves a little time cushion.  We started right at sunset, running out of town past the back of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, and then turned around to come back by the sign on the way in, and then down the Strip.  I'd made a pace band for a 5:30 marathon, and at every mile marker I checked my pace and was staying about 3 minutes ahead for the first 10 miles and felt great.

At mile 6, I looked down the Strip towards the Stratosphere and just felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude that I was there, that I had the opportunity to have this amazing experience, and I prayed and gave thanks to God while I ran.  This isn't the life I thought I would be having, and I'd still give anything to have my old life back, but since I know that isn't an option, I'm incredibly thankful that Option B includes moments like that.

I continued ahead of pace and actually ran a half PR in the first half of the race.  Shortly after mile 10, the full course turned off the strip and began meandering through side streets.  There were still bands and DJs set up along the course, but no more crowds or funny signs, and really no sights to see.  I had been taking nutrition and drinking Nuun just like I trained, but I began to struggle around mile 15.  I remembered how I'd felt at mile 14 of my 20 mile long run a few weeks before, and how I got a second wind shortly after. so I kept pushing but that second wind didn't kick in this time.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

#CountdownToVegas Week 16: HalloWeek

Y'all probably already know Halloween is my favorite holiday.  It's not like I actually need an excuse to dress up - I do that all the time anyway.  But it's extra-fun when other people are dressed up too.



It's been an up-and-down week for me: I'm missing Kevin a lot, especially with the holidays getting closer.  So I'm allowing myself plenty of alone time to just be upset and sad and angry.  Why didn't he take better care of his health?  But I'm also not going to just stay in and be sad all the time, and miss out on the life that's still going on around me.  I don't have a lot of words today, so I'm going to make this a picture blog post, with a few comments.
Tuesday #LFBootcamp: Exodus 5:9 workout
Monday Hills w/my sole sister Veronica


Flat12 Bierwerks firepit, post Thursday's run club
as Witch Hazel at Friday's Athletic Annex Candy Caper w/#FBGs Theresa, Christina & Kathy


as Glitteresa the Clown at Saturday's Brew HaHa 5K w/#FBGs Becky, Theresa, Christina, Judi & Brenda

FBGs Keira, Kristen & Kalie as the Power Puff Girls
Super cool Brew HaHa SWAG


It cracks me up that there's a speed limit sign in this pic.


Falling in the leaves after today's 12 mile long run.

Total miles for the week:  31.9

Total training miles to date:  427.95

Up Next

Volunteering at this weekend's Monumental Marathon and Half Marathon.  I'll be at the water station around mile 4.5.

And then next weekend....   VEGAS!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

#CountdownToVegas Week 15: PR in the Rain

Saturday morning on the Monon
Short blog post today, because it's almost time for the season premiere of The Walking Dead.  I'm not enjoying the show as much as I used to, and I actually think Z Nation is a better show at this point.  But I'm curious enough to still watch at least the first few episodes this season, and see where it might be going.

I had a rather busy week with work and other obligations, plus one day I just plain forgot to pack my sports bra, so I didn't get quite as many miles in this week as I'd originally planned.  I only ran three days, which feels like slacking.  But they were good quality runs, so I've got that going for me.

Monday was reverse hill suicides with #TeamMoHills.  It was a really tough workout, but these ladies always make it fun.  Crazy that it was still in the 80s in mid-October!

3.17 PR

S'more on a Stick!
Thursday was the final Run(317) race of 2016.  It was in the 50s and raining, but I had a great race.  The course was crowded at the beginning, but once it opened up, I was feeling strong so I ran hard.  Not all out since the pavement was wet, but definitely pushing.  My mile splits were 10:38, 10:09, 10:38, and my final time was 33.22, nine seconds faster than my previous best at that distance.  I know some people prefer a straighter course, but for a 5K I like a course with a lot of turns.  Mentally it helps me, because I can break the race down to just running this block, just pushing to the next corner, etc.

The Run(317) races this year were all a lot of fun, even though the weather didn't always cooperate.  I'm looking forward to seeing what they have for us next year.  Now that Indianapolis has a second area code, though, will they have to offer two distances?  Either way, I really hope to see the S'more Mobile again!

Long Run

Saturday was my long run - 16 miles.  I had listed on our What's Next page that I was running the Hendricks County Fall Colors 10K, but I never actually did sign up for it.  Normally I don't list an event I'm not registered for, but I kept intending to do this one.  Every time I brought the website up, though, something stopped me.  So I decided to do my long run with BGR's All About That Base group, and I'm so glad I did.  I ran with Re'Nita for the first 8 miles, Broad Ripple to Carmel.  I was enjoying chatting with her and didn't even feel like we'd gone all that far.  She had a longer run on her schedule than I did, so I turned around at 8 and headed back while she kept going.  It was a gorgeous fall day - perfect weather for a long run.  Average pace was 13:01.  Interestingly mile 8 was my fastest, at 11:41.

Total miles for the week: 28.4

Total training miles to date:  396.05

Winner x 2

Hopefully Laura blogs soon, but while we wait I'm going to brag on her.  She ran two races Saturday: a 10K road race in the morning and a 5 mile trail race that night.  She was 1st in her age group and 5th female overall in BOTH RACES!  Way to go Laura!

Up Next

Two Halloween events this week:  the Athletic Annex Candy Caper on Friday night (not a race, just a fun run), and the Brew HaHa Saturday morning.  Despite Siri's advice, however, I have some good costumes for both races.  Stay tuned to Instagram....



Sunday, October 16, 2016

#CountdownToVegas Week 14: Thriving During the Zombie Uprising

Lots to write about this week!  First off let's start with my left knee.  I'd been running in denial since August.  I would not admit my knee hurt, because saying it would make it real, and if it was real I might have to do something like stop running for a little while.  The only person who knew was Josh, because he'd see me icing it, and I would say something sarcastic like "my knee doesn't hurt, I'm icing it just in case it was to start hurting".  Of course he knows how to translate that, though.

I should say here that I was not actually running through pain. It really didn't hurt while I was running, only afterwards.  And on a scale of 1-10, it was a 1 or 2 at most.  But this past couple of weeks, it started to be more of a 3, and I started worrying maybe something was wrong and I was making it worse and damaging my chances to continue to be active long-term.  And once that worry started in my head, it started to suck the joy and fun out of running.  So I made a doctor's appointment.  My doctor is a runner too, so I knew she would get it.  It turned out she was out of town, but Kevin's doctor is in the same practice and he's also a runner, so I made the appointment with him.

I'm glad I went; especially since it was all good news.  He said my knee pain is just from overtraining, gave me some exercises to do, told me to continue icing it and take naproxen.  But most importantly he said it was fine to keep running.  Whew!  And just like that running is fun again!